Designed by Breakspear Architects for a pair of avid gardeners and their daughter, the Courted House is a place to pause and escape—where everyday to-dos are swapped for gardening and spending quality time as a family.
Located in a suburban plot west of Sydney, this 2,100-square-foot dwelling reimagines the idea of living in the Australian bush, where the garden is considered to be part of the home. A fresh take on the courtyard house, the home is encircled by walls with a garden at its heart.
The rectangular floor plan is composed of a grid of nine double-height courts that are defined by cedar-clad beams. The courts are similarly sized and can accommodate a variety of uses and furniture arrangements. The central courtyard brings together all of the home’s functions—cooking, eating, and lounging.
The central courtyard is secluded from the busy surrounds. Lined with a landscaped garden, the tall walls frame the sky and form a central point around which daily life revolves. As stated by the architects, “the whole interior becomes a veranda; an outdoor interior of garden and home inextricably one.”
Living takes place within, across, and around the central courtyard. Four private courts occupy the plan’s corners, and each has a loft space and opens to the garden. “The client’s request for a ‘retreat’ suggested an escape where architecture, interiors, and landscape could be liberated from hierarchies to become a rich, singular tapestry,” say the architects.
The interior finish materials are subdued, allowing the garden and sky to shine as focal points. Tall, white planes play with light and shadow, concrete floors ground the home, and cedar cladding wraps the home inside and out.
The exterior treatment is essential to the home’s feeling of privacy. Perforated steel screens and cement panels shield the interior from the surrounding streets. The home’s outer walls are rarely punctured, but when they are it’s in purposeful ways.